School of Thought: How do country schools stack up against city schools?

schools country victoria

When it comes to country and city schools, we can all agree that the city schools seem to have all the advantages. There are more options, more funding, more teachers, and more everything. But on closer inspection, does the location, unique experiences and outcomes of our country’s kids’ bolster their educational journey in many other ways?

Location, Location, Location

Whilst attending a regional school at first appears as a disadvantage, the sense of being part of a close-knit community is a huge positive of living in the country. There are fewer discipline problems, students feel safer and teachers are more likely to live within the community and have a vested interest. In contrast, many city teachers have a long commute to work and are less involved in the region where they work. For students going into high school in particular, “the secondary environment is one where networks of supportive, loving adults and close friends are really important” (Borrey, 2018). This is where a country student’s sense of belonging comes to the fore. We all know that happier students lead to better outcomes in all areas of life.

But what about the results?

It is not surprising that the academic scores of students tend to increase the closer their schools are to a city. However, they are not really that much lower in comparison. Considering that country school students are more likely to have family properties or a desire to work in the trade in their local communities, it is reasonable to expect that they will have more VCAL than VCE students. Children can achieve well academically anywhere if they are motivated. But overall, what are the most important results for our children? If a child grows up in a place where they feel part of a community and want to give back, then that’s surely the best outcome we can hope for.

Borrey, E. for EISAU (6/4/18). The Choices and Challenges of Teaching in Rural Australia. Retrieved from:
Ferrari, J. for The Australian (13/8/11). Country Schools Score Higher Than The City. Retrieved from:
Morris, N. and Shaw, S. for ABC News (16/02/17). School choices for regional families: The biases of a distant private versus a local education. Retrieved from: